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Top 10 Ways to Outsmart the "Super" Marketers

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:18 am    Post subject: Top 10 Ways to Outsmart the "Super" Marketers Reply with quote

1 - Love cheese? You better shop around. Look carefully in three places in your store for the same product -- all with different prices. The dairy case will usually have staple cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack, prepackaged at the lowest price. The deli and cheese tables may have the exact same products, but you'll pay more. Know what you want, and shop all three areas for the best price.

2 - Pay attention to package sizes. Does "10% More Free" get you to buy extra product? Some products, beverages in particular, are already in larger packages, giving us more than the label says to insure that they don't run the risk of being short weight, which is sure to get the FDA's attention and fines. Don't think that little extra isn't built into the price already! So when you see the "extra free" label, make sure it's not the same size package with a special label.

3 - Don't be fooled by "New," "New and Improved" which can mean the product has just come out or has been made better -- or it can mean a new color, new flavor, or just a tweak in the formula. There is no word more coveted than "new" for a product on the supermarket shelf. The government knows this, so it limits use of the word on labels and packaging to six months. You probably won't be able to tell if the "New and Improved" label is true, unless you can find an old one to compare it with. Check the ingredients and the nutritional data.

4 - Check the calories. Are you buying those expensive no-fat products but gaining weight? You've switched to frozen dinners with hardly any fat and eat only no-fat cookies, but your weight hasn't changed? You are not alone. Remember that fat, besides delivering terrific texture for a product, is also a bulking agent. Taking out the fat requires replacing it with another bulking agent. A lot of the time, it's sugar! Check out the ingredients and calorie counts; you might be surprised. You might be better off eating smaller portions of the "regular" version.

5 - Don't trust "tastes great!" claims. "Tastes great" or "improved flavor" claims always make me ask, "according to whom?" You should ask the same question before you switch brands and buy. This is one of those marketing slogans that drives me nuts! If it tasted so bad before, why should I believe you now? The average package in the supermarket has about one-seventeenth of a second to attract our attention, so the manufacturer will try anything to stop us and make us look, pick up the product, and put it in our cart.

6 - Read the nutritional label (not the brand). Healthy Choice brand started it, and everyone else followed. Now there are dozens of brands containing the word "healthy." Under new label regulations, brands and products can't incorporate the word healthy into their brand name. But the brands that were on the shelves before the regulations were enacted are "grandfathered" and can continue to use the word. Some brands are more healthful than others. Always read both the nutritional label and the ingredients list, and judge for yourself how healthful the product is.

7 - Think twice about rebates. Less than 6 percent of shoppers ever redeem rebates or mail-in offers. But they're a great incentive to buy a product we usually don't or to purchase multiple packages to comply with the offer. Before your put the products in your cart, decide that you really will redeem the offer.

8 - Enter contests without buying the product. Winning a free trip to Hawaii is especially appealing midwinter. And even though the package says in very small type that you don't have to buy the product to enter, you feel your chances have to be better if you do. Wrong! State regulations on contests are very strict and prohibit companies from showing a preference toward purchasers. If the contest appeals to you, but the product doesn't, don't buy it. But do enter the contest. Your chances are just as good, and you haven't bought a product you'll never use.

9 - Don't believe the scanner. Do you relax when you see a sign at the checkout that says, "We guarantee our scanner price is correct or you get the product free"? Well, don't. While systems are getting a lot better, many errors still occur at the checkout. Don't blame the cashier or the scanner. The problem is with the prices being put into the computer system. For specials, especially on the first day of a sale, bring the newspaper ad with you and watch the register's display to make sure the scanned prices are correct.

10 - Don't go shopping when you're hungry or cranky or in a bad mood! Our supermarkets are getting better and fresher all the time, so when we walk in, we are bombarded with great colors, tastes and smells. Eat first, shop later.
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